The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2015 has played host to more car companies than ever before — due to the growth in the self-driving industry — bringing Audi, BMW, Volkswagen and Ford to Las Vegas.
However, Ford's chief executive Mark Fields is not interested in making "marketing claims" at CES 2015, and believes we are still at least five years away from self-driving cars on the road.
Fields claims Ford will not pursue self-driving until it “satisfies customers in a profound way,” and will continue to work on semi-autonomous features to its affordable line of cars, like parallel parking assist.
At CES 2015, Ford showed off Sync 3, a new update to its virtual car assistant. Ford has updated the software to accept less voice information from the user, and still understand the location or place.
Sync 3 comes just before Apple's CarPlay and Android Auto arrive on thirty car manufacturers vehicles, including Ford. Ford is not worried, vice president of global product development Raj Nai said “It’s about giving [consumers] the choice.”
The comments come after Audi completed a 550-mile "piloted drive" in the Jack A7, showing self-driving on the freeway. BMW showed an autonomous valet system, allowing users to call for their car on a smartwatch, and have it drive to them. Volkswagen has a new system for learning parking habits, to make parking easier.
However, Google is still the main vendor for self-driving cars, considering it has been mapping out the world for two years to push the self-driving platform.
It is not clear if Google will play ball with all car manufacturers, since Audi and Tesla are working on their own self-driving platforms. However, latecomers like Ford may need to use Google's system to even get into the race (ahem).
Most analysts predict the first self-driving cars will be available before 2018, but regulations are still holding most U.S. states back. In Europe, the same sort of legislation blocks car manufacturers from testing out self-driving cars on the roads.